CLARKSVILLE, TN (CLARKSVILLE NOW) – Every current employee of Montgomery County Government who provided essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic will get up to $10,000 in premium pay.

But because of the way local and state governments are organized, none of that funding will go to employees of the Montgomery County Health Department, E-911 Dispatch or the Bi-County Landfill.

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Additional $5 per hour 

Montgomery County has received just under $20.3 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to assist with COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery. On Monday, the County Commission voted to distribute up to $11 million of that to county employees that are “deemed to be essential workers” under ARPA.

“It’s very important to the men and women who serve Montgomery County that are deemed critical, essential employees,” County Mayor Jim Durrett said at the meeting. “It’s critical that we recognize our employees.”

Each eligible current employee will get an additional $5 per hour for in-person work they did from March 1, 2020, through Oct. 3, 2021. This doesn’t apply to work done by remote, such as meetings over video conferencing. There’s a $10,000 premium pay cap for each employee.

The Montgomery County Health Department has been on the front lines of the pandemic from the start, with nurses and other workers organizing and providing free testing, then vaccines once they were available. But most of the employees of the Health Department are actually part of the Tennessee Department of Health system, so they are state, not county, employees.

“The employees of the Montgomery County Health Department are vital to the health and well-being of our community,” county spokeswoman Michelle Newell told Clarksville Now. “At this time the ARPA funding is for county employees only. The state is also receiving ARPA funding and may choose to distribute funds in the same manner.”

Clarksville Now has reached out to the Tennessee Department of Health for comment.

Possible solutions

There are two nurses at MCHD who are county employees, and they are eligible for the premium pay, Newell said.

A solution for the other employees could be in the works.

In response to questions from Clarksville Now, Newell said, “We are looking at potential solutions for the Health Department, as well as some other departments that are unique because they serve Montgomery County but the employees are not employees of Montgomery County. Bi-County and E-911 are great examples.”

Both Bi-County and E-911 function as separate authorities that are not part of Montgomery County Government, though in many ways they are treated as Montgomery County agencies, for example with Montgomery County website pages and email addresses.

(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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